Kanakuk Kamps Leadership Sued for Fraud
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIM OF CAMP DIRECTOR AT LARGEST EVANGELICAL SPORTS CAMP CLAIMS FRAUD REGARDING PRIOR SETTLEMENT
KANSAS CITY – On the first-ever U.N. World Day for the Prevention of and Healing from Child Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Violence, Logan Yandell of Hendersonville, Tenn. has filed a fraud case regarding the child sexual abuse he survived at the hands of former Kanakuk Kamps director, Peter “Pete” Newman. The lawsuit is filed against Kanakuk Ministries (DBA “Kanakuk Kamps”) based in Branson, Mo.; Kanakuk’s CEO and Board Chair, Joe T. White, individually; Kanakuk Heritage, Inc.; Westchester Fire Insurance Company f/k/a Ace Westchester Specialty Group; and John Doe.
The petition alleges fraud and claims that Yandell, now 27 years old, along with his parents as guardians of a minor, were induced to sign a settlement agreement, inclusive of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), without the Defendants disclosing key facts regarding Newman’s known patterns of sexually abusing minors throughout his employment.
Attorneys for the Yandell family are Brian Kent, Guy D’Andrea, Michael McFarland and Jill Roth of Laffey Bucci Kent in Philadelphia, Pa., along with Phillip R. Martens, Robert Thrasher and David Mayer of Monsees & Mayer in Kansas City, Mo.
According to Brian Kent, “Neither Logan nor his parents would have agreed to the settlement terms if not for the Defendants’ false statements.” He said, “The Yandells were told that Kanakuk had no prior knowledge of Newman’s sexual exploitation of children. The representations made by Defendants regarding prior knowledge of Newman’s patterns of sexually abusing minors were blatantly false.”
Newman was sentenced in 2010 to two life terms plus 30 years for his crimes against children; however, Newman victims have solely settled out of court with Kanakuk to date. Since 2010, “victims and survivors of Newman, like Plaintiff, have been settling cases against the Kanakuk Defendants without knowing the true facts regarding Defendants’ active misrepresentations and concealment of Newman’s sexual misconduct,” states the petition.
In December 2021, The Dispatch published an article that disclosed to the Kanakuk survivor community and general public for the first time that Newman’s direct supervisor, Will Cunningham, had, in fact, recommended Newman’s termination in 2003 upon receiving more reports of Newman’s ongoing sexual abuse of children. This termination request was overruled by Joe White, longtime and current CEO and Board Chair of Kanakuk Ministries, who promoted Newman from assistant director to director after Cunningham left his role. Cunningham signed an affidavit with his sworn testimony regarding his recommendation to terminate Newman, due to patterns of sexually abusing minors, as part of this filing.
Due to the December 2021 article in particular, and other substantial facts revealed to plaintiff since his original 2010 settlement agreement with Defendants, Yandell is seeking damages for the Defendants’ fraud. He is demanding a jury by trial on all issues triable in this case.
“Kanakuk actively concealed what they knew about the sexual abuse being perpetrated by Pete Newman and induced victims and survivors into settlements and NDAs,” said Robert Thrasher on behalf of the Yandell family. “The settlements inhibit victims and their families from sharing their stories and as a result, hinder their recovery process. This lawsuit is being filed to hold Kanakuk accountable, and to give Logan and potentially other victims and survivors their voices back.”
For more information regarding Kanakuk’s history of abuse, visit FactsAboutKanakuk.com.
Additional information can be accessed using the links below.
Laffey, Bucci & Kent LLP (www.laffeybuccikent.com) is a trauma-informed, personal injury law firm based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that represents individuals seriously injured due to the negligence of others. Their crime victim department is made up of former sex crimes prosecutors who solely represent survivors of abuse, assault and human trafficking nationwide. They are currently lead counsel in various well known sexual abuse lawsuits across the country, including litigation against the Southern Baptist Convention for their cover up of sexual abuse. The attorneys at the firm have more than 50 years of experience and have obtained more than $500 million on behalf of their clients, including a $52,000,000 settlement in 2020 on behalf of 29 victims of the Miracle Meadows School in West Virginia. They also have offices in California, Delaware, West Virginia, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and New York.
Monsees & Mayer, P.C. (www.monseesmayer.com) is a personal injury law firm in Springfield and Kansas City, Missouri, committed to helping individuals injured by the negligence and wrongdoing of others. With more than 80 years of collective experience, the attorneys represent clients in sexual abuse, car accident, wrongful death and serious injury claims and have obtained millions in verdicts and settlements, including more than $25 million in judgments and settlements obtained in the past 5 years for victims and survivors of sexual abuse.